Good Mornin’, Siblings! 

Today’s readings are Exodus 19-21

Click here to read today’s passages on BibleGateway.

Rabbit Trails

Today we have a group challenge! Make sure you read towards the bottom to be able to take part. I encourage you to do so, it is a game changer.

As always, a lot happens in our verses but today I’m going to focus on two things with my trails.

We are given what is known today as the ten commandments! For centuries now, Christianity and Judaism have held these commandments up as the foundation for living a moral, ethical, and righteous life. 

In fact, if you look at them and then pay attention to all of the other commandments coming up, the ten commandments act as an outline, with future commandments falling under one of the primary ten.

Then, when we move on to the greatest commandment, Deuteronomy 6:5, it is an even larger umbrella that all of the commandments fall under.  Messiah Himself quoted this in Matthew 22:36-40 and sometimes people cite Him quoting that as being the moment where He did away with all of the commandments. You can read more about this by checking out my article here: Did Messiah replace the ten commandments with just two? 

Think about it, if you love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind, what will your attitude be towards Him? It will be submission, recognition of His authority, reverence, and obedience. 

How do we obey Him? By following His commandments.

Obedience is YHWH’s love language.

And the commandments are very simple and straight forward, plainly spoken, and written with full intent of us understanding them. It’s when the humans get involved that the waters get muddied and things get complicated – but God is pretty cut and dry. Many say that the commandments are too hard for us, that no one can possibly keep them. But I trust YHWH over any person any day. Check out what He said about them here: Deuteronomy 30:11-14 .

While these have been the bedrock of our foundation for living a moral life for a very long time, there are many inside and outside of churches today that dismiss some or even go so far as to say we are not obliged to obey any of them anymore.

I am not here to argue, nor do I see a fruit in doing so. Humans have always said a lot of things and always will say a lot of things. Mankind will reason things away what they want to reason away and add things in that they want to be added in. Our logic is flawed and self serving by nature. 

As we continue with our reading, I encourage you to start each Bible session with your mind and heart as a blank piece of paper and allow YHWH’s Word to be the one to fill it. 

YHWH’s Word is here, written for you, speaking directly to you. 

May we let His voice be the loudest in our lives. 

Another topic I want to add a little context to is the verse about a man selling his daughter. Yikes, I know some of this is scary stuff, especially when we look at it in our modern mindset and don’t understand the culture and customs of the day. Now don’t go thinking I’m excusing slavery! I am absolutely not. I am horrified and deeply grieved by our history with this horrible act and the continuance of racism today, especially in the body of believers. Hang on, though, because I want to explain that what we are reading here is not the same thing that our modern mindsets envision. We must put it back into cultural context in order to understand.

Exodus 21:7-11

“When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do. If she does not please her master, who has designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He shall have no right to sell her to a foreign people, since he has broken faith with her. If he designates her for his son, he shall deal with her as with a daughter. 10 If he takes another wife to himself, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, or her marital rights. 11 And if he does not do these three things for her, she shall go out for nothing, without payment of money.

A couple of years ago I was reading up on the culture and history during this time frame and came across an explanation that made these verses make so much more sense. I can’t remember the source and I am paraphrasing what I learned but this is something I’d like to share. Please consider it a possibility rather than fact, although I do believe it to be true at this point.

Now, we are about to speak specifically of “slaves” in the Hebrew culture because there were very specific guidelines for them. First of all, you need to know that the Hebrew word used here is ebed and many Bibles translate this as “servant”. My primary Bible says slave but has a footnote that it is “servant”. In this context and within these parameters culturally and according to the faith, I feel servant is a more accurate translation.

In this time, there was little room for social mobility. The poor remained poor because they were indebted to the rich for work and their means of living. The rich remained rich and their wealth grew as their families grew.

However, The way of YHWH’s law offered a means for a young girl to escape poverty and thereby her family as well- and that was by intermarrying with a wealthy family. This was a means of social welfare that well off families felt some obligation to take part in and families of lesser means often relied on.

If a father wanted this to happen for his daughter, he could approach a man of fellow Hebrew of integrity and wealth and offer his daughter as a servant in his house. The man would give the father a price for her, thereby immediately helping her family, bring her into his home, and provide for her in exchange for her working in his household.

The goal for both parties was that either the man himself or one of his sons would eventually take her as a wife. The man of the household has the added bonus of being able to raise this girl up as a member of his household, which would promote a much more content and strongly bonded marriage. 

If he or one of his sons marry her and then he takes another wife later, he is not allowed to treat her any differently or diminish her status in any way. Exodus 21:9-10

If neither he nor his sons decide to marry her she is to be set free with no payment, but essentially having been cared for in exchange for work all those years she lived in the house. Exodus 21:11

However, more often than not, these girls would have grown up in the household and eventually become a daughter in law of that household. 

Now read that passage again and see if it makes more sense to you.

We also see in this same reading that some servants may declare that they love their master and wanted to remain with him forever. If this happened they had their ear pierced and were considered permanent members of that man’s household. While slavery as we think of it today certainly did take place in that time, what we are reading about is a Hebrew culture which, by and large, treated their servants as members of their own households.

Feel free to research it further. In fact, research everything! Never take anyone’s word for it. Read YHWH’s Word first, entertain only trusted sources outside of that, and in the end still only trust God’s Word with the fullness of your heart.

~People are fallible, YHWH is not. That is an important perspective to maintain.~

Remember, the Bible is the straight edge to which all else must line up, not the other way around. YHWH’s Word is true yesterday, today, and forever. He is God, He does not change and His wisdom is beyond our scope of understanding. What a BLESSING it is to have the amazing access we do to the Word of God today!

Exodus 19:1 Begins “On the third new moon after the people of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt…” This is the Hebrew way of saying three months later because they marked the beginning of their months by the new moon. Interesting tidbit, below is a photo of what is considered a new moon.

You’ve probably caught on by now, but it is a good time to point out that the Hebrew calendar is not the same as the Gregorian calendar we follow.

Exodus 19:4-6 ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”

Can you imagine being there, having those words spoken about you? These words are timeless, they have never expired. And the Father, in His Grace, allows us to take part in this covenant as well. 

Exodus 19:15 ends on an abrupt and somewhat humorous sounding note! However 1 Corinthians 7:5 yields a bit more insight.

The Ten Commandments are known in some circles as the Ten Words and many actually see eleven commandments there, with the first being “I am YHWH your God”. Just something to know. Today we are given them in Exodus 20:1-17 and I want to challenge you to do something that I did only recently and it really changed how I viewed the commandments, helped me frame them better in my mind, and yielded some prayerful insight that I had not realized before. Ready for the challenge? 

Today’s group challenge: Write down the Ten Commandments by hand. All of them. From Exodus 20:1-17.

Not the little shortcut version you see on plaques and such

that is not the whole story

write the full commandments: All of Exodus 20:1-17.

  • Number them as you do and leave a space in between each commandment so you can clearly tell when one ends and the other begins. I think you’re going to be surprised when you do this by what you might see, understand, or realize that you had not noticed before.
  • If you accept my challenge, take a photo of them after you’ve written them out if you can and upload it on today’s comment thread in the facebook group!

THANK YOU for being here. 

I’m SO EXCITED to be growing closer to the Father with each of you and I hope you feel continually encouraged and strengthened the more you read. 

BE ENCOURAGED! YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB and the results are immeasurable.

TEST EVERYTHING hold tight to what is good. ~1 Thess 5:21

May YHWH bless the reading of His word!

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Christy Jordan
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